Daily Kickoff: Reuters to interview Obama today on Iran, Bibi | Iran still withholding key info | Hillary & Bibi’s relationship | Noa Mintz profile

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BIBI SPEECH PREVIEW: “A senior Israeli official traveling in Netanyahu’s delegation, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the Israeli government had “a good understanding of the agreement we can draw conclusions from.” “We know what we know. And believe me, we know a lot of information about this agreement,” the official told reporters aboard the flight to Washington.

“The Prime Minister is going to Congress to explain what they don’t know about this agreement that it is a bad agreement.” The official said Congress has “no understanding” of the deal shaping up. He described the Prime Minister’s speech as a “last chance” to speak directly to Congress before a March 24 deadline for a political framework agreement about the elements believed to be in the deal.” [CNNBloomberg]

AIPAC COVERAGE: “Pro-Israel Group Publicly Breaks With White House Over Iran” [WSJ• “At AIPAC, papering over cracks in US-Israel ties” [AFP] • “Before Netanyahu Speaks, AIPAC Gives Thanks for An Aggressive Congress” [Bloomberg• “Day 1 at AIPAC: Trusting Congress, expecting little from White House, and anxious about Bibigate” [JewishJournal• “At AIPAC, Netanyahu-Obama tiff is much ado about (almost) nothing” [ToI]

SCENE YESTERDAY: @RosLehtinen – “On way 2 discuss US-#Israel alliance + #Iran nuke threat @AIPAC, saw old pal + defender of #Jewish state @EricCantor” Picture [Twitter

DRIVING THE DAY: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses AIPAC’s Policy Conference at 8:30am. Other speakers at AIPAC tomorrow include U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, Czech Republic President Miloš Zeman, former Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, Sen. Robert Menendez, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Watch live [JLTV] #AIPAC2015

—“President Obama and two of his top national security officials will make their case publicly on Monday for a diplomatic agreement with Iran. The president has scheduled an interview with Reuters for Monday afternoon, the same day that Susan E. Rice, his national security adviser, and Samantha Power, his ambassador to the United Nations, will address the American Israel Public Affairs Committee at its policy conference here.” [NYTimes]

DRIVING THE WEEK: “Senators Challenge Obama With New Iran Bill” by Josh Rogin: “A bipartisan group of senators introduced new legislation Friday afternoon to mandate Congressional review of any nuclear deal the Obama administration strikes with Iran… The new bill was finalized after three weeks of intense negotiations between Senate Foreign Relations Committee chiefs Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Robert Menendez. Five other senators in each party have signed on, giving the bill’s authors what they feel is a good case for the legislation to move through the committee in March, to be ready to go to the Senate floor after March 24, if and only if Iran and the so-called P5+1 countries reach at least political agreement toward a comprehensive deal.” [BloombergView] • “Obama vows veto” [JPost]

TOP TALKER: “Kerry Is Pushing for Agreement in Iran Nuclear Talks” by Michael R. Gordon: “On Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Switzerland to meet again with Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister who earned a Ph.D in international law and policy from the University of Denver, to try to negotiate the very accord that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel arrived in Washington that same day to denounce… Ray Takeyh said that given Mr. Kerry’s “inordinate attention to this issue, there is an impression that he wants this agreement more so than the Iranians.” [NYTimes] • “U.N. nuclear watchdog says Iran still withholding key information” [Reuters]

Ray Takeyh Op: “The strategic genius of Iran’s supreme leader” in the Washington Post:“On the surface, there is not much that commends Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. An anti-Semite, he has frequently questioned the Holocaust and defamed Israel in despicable terms. As a conspiracy theorist, he endlessly weaves strange tales about the United States and its intentions. As a national leader, he has ruthlessly repressed Iran’s once-vibrant civil society while impoverishing its economy. And yet Khamenei is also a first-rate strategic genius who is patiently negotiating his way to a bomb.” [WashPost] • David Suissa Op: “Honoring Iran, dissing Israel” [JewishJournal]

Jeffrey Goldberg: “Danger ahead for Obama on Iran” in the Atlantic: “This is a very dangerous moment for Obama and for the world. He has made many promises, and if he fails to keep them—if he inadvertently (or, God forbid, advertently) sets Iran on the path to the nuclear threshold, he will be forever remembered as the president who sparked a nuclear-arms race in the world’s most volatile region, and for breaking a decades-old promise to Israel that the United States would defend its existence and viability as the nation-state of the Jewish people.” [TheAtlantic]

“Why We Need to Hear Netanyahu” by Mike Rogers and Michael Doran: “By helping to force a more thorough examination of the matter, Netanyahu is therefore performing a service to us all. When a president turns a deaf ear to a good friend bearing an inconvenient message, he works against his own interests, whether he realizes it or not.” [PoliticoMag] • LA Times Editorial: “Congress should hear out Netanyahu” [LATimes]

Jewish Dems Dilemma: “I went out to play golf — I never play golf — with three of my Jewish buddies,” recalled Representative Alan Lowenthal, a Jewish Democrat from Southern California who only this weekend decided he will attend Mr. Netanyahu’s address to a joint meeting of Congress. “One said, ‘You must go,’ one said, ‘You definitely should not go,’ and one said, ‘I’m in the middle.’ That literally reflects the American Jewish community.” [NYTimes] • How Rep. Hakeem Jeffries was convinced to attend [KCPolitics]

Bibi’s boycotters: “The nearly three dozen boycotters are only a fraction of the 232 Democrats in Congress.” [Politico]

SUNDAY SHOWS: Sen. Dianne Feinstein on CNN’s State of the Union: “Since he is coming, I intend to go, and will listen respectively. I don’t intend to jump up and down,” said Feinstein, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “He doesn’t speak for me on this,” the Jewish lawmaker said on CNN’s “State of the Union” regarding the Israeli’s leader’s opposition to a push over Iran’s nuclear program.” [TheHill] • “Kerry on ABC’s This Week: Welcoming, but wary of Netanyahu” [NYTimesWashPost]

LISTICLE: An hour before Bibi landed in DC, the White House released – “5 Things You Need to Know About the U.S.-Israel Relationship Under President Obama” [WhiteHouse]

2016 WATCH: “For Hillary and Bibi, a long and sometimes fraught relationship” by Anne Gearan: “The phone call between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lasted 45 minutes. For 43 of them, she talked and he listened. There probably aren’t many times in Netanyahu’s professional life when he has listened to anyone for 43 minutes. Should Clinton win the presidency in 2016, her long and complicated history with Netanyahu will enter a new phase.” [WashPost]

“Hillary Clinton Seen Launching Presidential Campaign Bid in April” by Peter Nicholas and Carol E. Lee: “Hillary Clinton and her close advisers are telling Democratic donors that she will enter the presidential race sooner than expected, likely in April, a move that would allay uncertainties within her party and allow her to rev up fundraising.” [WSJ]

Christie in California: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie told California Republicans on Saturday that the party should not rush to choose a 2016 presidential nominee because of pressure from pollsters, pundits and GOP donors… Christie drew perhaps his largest applause for criticizing nearly a dozen Democrats who said they would not attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress next week, calling it a “disgraceful moment” in history that leaves America’s allies without any confidence.” [AP] • Pataki at Boca Raton Synagogue [Facebook] • “Rubio close to decision about presidential run” [AP]

Reps Grace Meng and Mark Meadows: “UN silence on a mortal threat to Israel” [ToI]

“Kerry to defend Israel at UN today: “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will defend Israel at a U.N. human rights body on Monday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares to criticize nuclear negotiations with Iran that the top diplomat is leading. “Our position is always very much in defense of Israel and protection of Israel’s interests at the Human Rights Council,” a U.S. official aboard Kerry’s plane told reporters, saying any investigations of Israel should be “objective and neutral and not … one-sided and biased.” [Reuters; JPost]

CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS: “We believe that personal or ad hominem attacks are unacceptable and only serve to demean meaningful discussion of the most vital issues of our time. The advertisement in yesterday’s New York Times attacking Susan Rice is inappropriate and harmful. “We urge all those concerned about US-Israel relations and the danger of a nuclear Iran to engage in constructive exchanges without resorting to offensive language or charges that raise tensions and obscure the very serious substantive issues.”

ICYMI: “Outrage Spreads Over Shmuley Boteach ‘Genocide’ Ad Smearing Susan Rice” [JTA• Video: Boteach responds to criticism [CNN]

HAPPENING TODAY: At 3PM, Boteach moderates a panel with Elie Wiesel, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Rep. Brad Sherman at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 106, titled “The Meaning of Never Again: Guarding Against a Nuclear Iran”

**Good Monday Morning! Enjoying the Daily Kickoff? Please share us with your friends & tell them to sign up at [JI].  Have a tip, scoop, or op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Anything from hard news and punditry to the lighter stuff, including event coverage, job transitions, or even special birthdays, is much appreciated. Email editor@jewishinsider.com**

LongRead: “Break-In At Y-12: How a handful of pacifists and nuns exposed the vulnerability of America’s nuclear-weapons sites” by Eric Schlosser in the New Yorker: “During the nineteen-sixties, when the Atomic Energy Commission trusted that private companies would effectively secure their own fissile material, hundreds of pounds of weapons-grade uranium went missing from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation plant in Apollo, Pennsylvania. There is strong evidence that the uranium was shipped to Israel, with help from insiders at the plant. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, President Gerald Ford discussed the theft with James Connor, an aide who’d been an official at the A.E.C. “The good news is that Israel definitely has the Bomb and can take care of itself,” Connor told the President. “The bad news is that the stuff came from Pennsylvania.” [NewYorker]

CAMPUS BEAT: “Anti-Israel Divestment Push Gains Tractions At US Colleges” by Rachel Zoll: “The lecture hall had filled quickly. Several students wore keffiyehs, the traditional Palestinian headscarves, while another sat draped in the Israeli flag. It was time for a ritual that has become increasingly commonplace on many American college campuses: A student government body, in this case at the University of California, Davis, would take up Israeli policy toward the Palestinians, and decide whether to demand their school divest from companies that work with the Jewish state.” [AP]

STARTUP SPOTLIGHT: “Business-savvy 15-year-old Noa Mintz launches babysitting agency, earns $300,000 a year” [TheWeekCNBCPeople]

BUSINESS BRIEFS: “Bradley Horowitz Is Now Running Google+” [TechCrunch]

“Mort Zuckerman’s Daily News buyer would need deep pockets—and a huge ego” — in the ‘impartial’ NYPost: “A day after the Daily News went up for auction, a slew of names were floated as potential buyers — though almost all have good reason to steer clear of the embattled tabloid. “Most of the names that have surfaced so far are businessmen. They are not philanthropists,” said author and New Yorker media writer Ken Auletta. The paper loses an estimated $20 million or more a year and generates $175 million in revenue.” [NYPost]

DESSERT: “A Battle Heats Up—Over Purim Packages: The holiday’s ‘mishloach manot’ boxes used to involve juice and a bag of chips. Now competitive moms have raised the stakes.” [TabletMag]


That’s all folks; have a great day!

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**Have a tip, suggestion, or even an op-ed? We’d love to hear from you. Email  editor@jewishinsider.com**


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